Goodbye evil machine!

When the ER doc told me it was a separated shoulder and there were no fractures, I thought that was a good thing. Lately I was beginning to doubt that. After notable improvement the first few days, the healing seemed to stall over the next two weeks. The pain wasn’t getting any better, and I wasn’t seeing any improvement in range of motion. I started thinking maybe I would’ve been better off with a broken collarbone – it’s at least a discrete injury that heals in a predictable period of time, versus these ligament and tendon injuries that can sometimes drag on forever. I began to envision a protracted period of wearing the sling and struggling to maintain fitness on that God-awful stationary recumbent bicycle. During the third week, however, I started noticing real improvement, and at the end of the week I was ready to try going “slingless.” I did fine that first day and have seen continued improvement in the days since then.

I didn’t do anything the first 8 days after the crash. It sucked, but I think my body also needed the rest. When I felt good enough I started working out again by running and doing the stationary recumbent at the YMCA. Running is okay, and at least when I have my legs under me I actually rather enjoy it. But I can’t do it every day, so on alternate days I had to do the stationary. In each of my 6 workouts on that evil machine I spent the entire 60 minutes painfully watching the clock in it’s slow motion countdown to 0:00. I honestly don’t know how people motivate themselves with machine-based exercise programs! I felt like a rat on a treadmill, with only the hope of some future glory on a bicycle being strong enough motivator to keep me from saying “f**k it” and soothing my angst with 50 grams of bacon double cheeseburger fat! If my only goals were fitness for fitness’ sake I’d be in deep trouble – “Ted, meet fat, middle-aged dad!” I guess I lack discipline. Or maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled with a fitness lifestyle that feels almost like pure fun and nothing like work. Every time I ride I wish I could ride longer – every time I workout on the evil machine I wish I could quit sooner. I actually think I race just because it’s so much fun to train.

I ran Sunday, and for the first time since the injury I felt great – 7.3 miles of hilly Wildwood terrain at little over a 9-min clip, decent enough for me! The next day I couldn’t bear the thought of the evil machine, and with the rapidly improving shoulder I decided it was time to give the road bike a try. I scooted home from work early so I could ride leisurely without worrying about how long I was out and pulled the white flash LOOK down off the garage wall. I was a little nervous at first, especially descending the quarter-mile 16% grade that leads out of my neighborhood, but I quickly gained confidence and started really enjoying being on the road again. Fitness-wise I had little problem – the legs lacked some snap but were not at all noodly. The lungs were definitely fine. I did feel some discomfort in my lower back, neck, and wrists due to the aggressive position on the bike, but after a half hour even that went away. Most importantly the shoulder did not give me any problems in maintaining control of the bike and handling road vibration. The only issue I ran into was changing hand position on the bars – raising my hand off the bar caused some discomfort, and I found myself “creeping” my hand along the bar to change position. No biggy, though – I could handle it, and before long I was enjoying life on the road again on a gorgeous evening.

At some point I realized it was going to get dark soon and I better start heading back. Apparently my internal clock was still stuck on September 1st, because it got dark way quicker and sooner than I realized it would. I had no lights or blinkers but wasn’t too concerned about visibility – traffic in Wildwood is almost non-existent after rush hour. I was not, however, prepared for how dark it actually got! By the time I hit Hardt Rd it was getting quite dark – beginning the descent to DeHardt Farm Rd with only subtle changes in gray shades to indicate the road was almost surreal. By the time I got up into my neighborhood it was pitch black – I had to creep along at 5-10 mph for fear of running right off the road and into the trees! At last, I made it home with ~30 miles under my belt.

I remember thinking, “I wish I could’ve gone longer!

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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5 Responses to Goodbye evil machine!

  1. Dr. T says:

    Good to hear you’re feeling better, Ted. Consider yourself fortunate: this injury will pass, you have a sport you love and the flexibility of time to pursue it, and what a great area to live! I have to ride just shy of an hour to get to where you are. I am one with my computrainer in the winter because of a fairly rigid schedule.

  2. Patrick says:

    Ted, good to hear the update. Very encouraging info, esp. since our last talk was during the “dark period” of no improvement.

    BTW, I spoke with Hofmeister last night (I was driving and saw him riding his darn bike…erm) and we spoke anxiously of kicking the Sunday Mugbans!!! Also, I have a tastey Jeff Co route for us, along with a sweet, quite Flemish, Columbia, IL route.

    Cast off and pins out on Oct. 12 to be replaced by a removeable splint…sounds like riding starts the weekend of 14th, brah!!! Saturday: Columbia and Sunday: Frontenac? 😉

  3. Ted M. says:

    Sunday Bugman rides start this weekend! Enjoy the trainer – sorry, I couldn’t resist 😉

  4. Rollitup says:

    “I started thinking maybe I would’ve been better off with a broken collarbone – it’s at least a discrete injury that heals in a predictable period of time”, let me know what that predictable time is. 4 months & I’m still not healed. Wouldn’t wish a broken collarbone on anyone. Glad to hear your doing better & back on the bike.

  5. Ted M. says:

    Scott – you can’t be hurt, you won a state championship! Seriously, I feel for you. I’m sure you’ll be ready to rock’n’roll next spring.

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